On Old Park Lane in Mayfair, London’s Hard Rock Cafe is the place to go for ales, burgers, fries and a slice of rock memorabilia.
But you don’t even need to reserve a table to get a taste of rock and roll history. Downstairs in the basement, the Vault is accessed through the coffee shop and houses some amazing rock memorabilia. And the best part is that it is free to visit.
What to expect
Enter the busy Hard Rock Cafe store and look for the stairs to The Vault. Free guided tours are held every 20 minutes, so you may have to wait, but a member of staff will advise you.
The building used to be a Coutts & Co Bank, so the vault was previously used as a bank vault. It is a small room and you can only enter with a member of staff.
Your tour guide will point you to all the key memories in the room and then you can take photos. Yes, you can take photos!
For a small fee, you can pose for a souvenir photo with one of the rare guitars (staff can advise which ones are available to play).
What you will see
- Beatles memorabilia: piano, lyrics, John Lennon glasses
- Glen Matlock’s first guitar (apparently he cried when he saw it here)
- Elvis Presley coat
- Bob Dylan’s guitar in the shape of a map of the USA.
- The guitar Jimi Hendrix played at the Isle of Wight Festival (it’s insured for £ 4 million!)
- Jeff Beck’s guitar, also played by Jimmy Page
- David Bowie’s guitar
- Madonna JPG bustier worn on the Blond Ambition Tour
- Kurt Cobain’s guitar
- An antique chair owned by Freddie Mercury.
- The Who memorabilia: lyrics, stage costumes, instruments
- Eric Clapton’s silver suit from 1969
- Slash’s guitar and outfit from Guns N ‘Roses video November Rain
- Many more pieces of rock and roll memorabilia
About the Hard Rock Cafe in London
Founded by Issac Tigrett and Peter Morton, two American men who wanted a decent burger while living in London, the Hard Rock Cafe opened in 1971. British rock legend Eric Clapton asked the owners to hang his guitar on his stool. Favorite bar to mark your spot. . A week later, The Who’s Pete Townshend asked for his guitar to also be displayed and the collection of rock memorabilia began. There are now nearly 200 Hard Rock cafes, hotels and casinos around the world and the company is owned by the Seminole tribe of Florida.
- Address: 150 Old Park Lane, (Corner of Park Lane), London W1K 1QZ
- The closest tube stations: Green Park or Hyde Park Corner. Use Journey Planner to plan your route on public transportation.
- Admission: Free, including a guided tour by a member of staff.
- Bonus fact: Apparently, when it came to a bank, the vault belonged to The Queen, and many say this is where Princess Diana tried on her wedding dress!